Drawing on the resources developed by Youth Theatre Ireland and Youth Theatre Arts Scotland (YTAS), DYT launched its own Young Critics programme in 2019. DYT members benefit from workshops in the critique of theatre performance before attending professional productions in Dublin. After attending performances, they produce their own response and critique to the production in their chosen medium. The Young Critics programme emphasises critical thinking and an awareness of the aesthetics of theatre, while highlighting the contributions of each department to a production.

In June 2019 DYTers attended Citysong at the Abbey Theatre. Member Ruairí Phelan wrote the following in response:

 

SPELLBINDINGLY, captivatingly, dazzlingly brilliant. Dylan Coburn Gray’s award-winning play Citysong sets out to record Dublin, and spins its tune terrifically writes Ruairí Phelan

As much prose as a play, Citysong is funny and sad and as quick as a native Dubliner’s famous humour.
Fittingly, the play is performed at The Abbey Theatre (Amharclann na Mainistreach) also known as the National Theatre –the oldest national theatre in the English-speaking world.
It tells the story of Dublin through the eyes of three generations of a family that has never left the city. You need to keep up and pay attention, as the story jumps between times and places. But there’s a changing narrator who keep you up-to-speed all the while cracking jokes and even doling out life advice. 
The six stellar actors (Amy Conroy, Jade Jordan, Bláithín Mac Gabhann, Daryl McCormack, Clare McKenna and Dan Monaghan) more than do justice to Gray’s narrative. 
We meet a taxi driver, who trawls the streets reflecting on his life, glancing often at his taxi licence: “old enough that he’s young enough that he can’t see himself in it”, a young couple in the maternity ward baby celebrating the birth of their baby, an old woman who struggles to complete the daily crossword, and a young man who has his first awkward romantic experience, to name a few.
Director Caitríona McLaughlin cleverly supports the actors with sequences of movement such as the tossing of keys, or slow-motion dances courtesy of Movement Director Sue Mythen. These are backed by pulsing beats from Adrienne Quartly creating compelling tension and atmosphere. And in a break from the Abbey’s traditional approach, the stage is relatively bare, the actors’ costumes a simple black. In fact, the standout prop is a mirror. In a brilliant touch, this is fractured into the shape of Dublin bay, filling three-quarters of the stage. It captures the image of the audience, and in doing so cleverly reflects the people of Dublin back onto themselves.
 Citysong is original, but gives a nod to one of Gray’s idols, Dylan Thomas whose Under Milk Wood, known as a ‘play for voices’ inspired Gray. Citysong is like a contemporary, Ulysses, But it’s definitely more accessible than James Joyce’s famously difficult-to-finish 1000-page novel about 24 hours in the life of Dublin  
There are bittersweet moments as you share the struggle of an older woman played by Clare McKenna whose character battles with Alzheimer’s and reminisces on intimacy. In contrast, you’ll laugh at the personification of the internet (Dan Monaghan) whose bawdy portrayal has R rated sections of the internet all summed up in a brash American accent.
So, does it all work to sum up Dublin’s character? Bleedin’ right it does. Gray and his team do the impossible by capturing the spirit of Dublin and wrangling it onto the stage.
In 100 minutes, we are swept up by the story this family and soon their struggles and triumphs become our own.  And if you weren’t a diehard Dub, this play will soon convert you. However, there could be a few tweaks made for improvement although they are pretty minor. For example, on the day I saw it the entrances and exits off stage appeared smooth but not seamless. But overall Gray and his team make this play sing in a triumphant production that’s captured the essence of Dublin, recorded it, and they are now playing it for all who listen.